iPhone 6 display innovation

For most people, the first thing that stands out about the new iPhone 6 display is that it’s bigger, and with the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s a lot bigger. Naturally, this means both screens must have a higher pixel count in order to maintain Retina status, but the real question – are these displays simply bigger, or actually better – still awaits this Friday for an answer. Apple certainly considers them to be better, as they’ve advertised the new ‘Retina HD’ display in the iPhone 6 siblings as having higher contrast with wider viewing angles and improved polarization, but the real difference between Retina and Retina HD remains somewhat obscure.

While Retina displays have been in existence for over four years now since they made their first appearance in the iPhone 4, Apple’s new Retina HD display seems to greatly improve upon the old formula.


iPhone 6 laying

Although there wasn’t sufficient time at Apple’s event to explain everything about the new display, an effort was made to discuss dual-domain pixels, a technology that increases the viewing angle of an iPhone’s screen. Because the larger display makes sharing content easier (ie. watch a video on your iPhone with a friend next to you), Apple has invested time into retaining true-to-life colors no matter from what angle you’re viewing the display.

More Pixels


It’s somewhat disappointing that, while the iPhone 6’s screen certainly has more pixels in it than the iPhone 5s, Apple didn’t change the pixel density – the number of pixels per inch (ppi) – from its previous 326ppi and instead relied on other technologies to improve the 1334×750, million-pixel display.

The iPhone 6 Plus, however, packs 401ppi into its 1920×1080, 5.5-display, making for over 2 million total pixels. Despite this pixel density being relatively average for higher-end smartphones, judging from Apple’s assessment of the Retina HD screen, it’ll still be on par with, if not notably better than competing smartphone screens.


iPhone 6 display contrast

Besides the dual-domain pixels for better viewing from more angles, considerable effort has been made to enhance the display’s color quality. With full sRGB color standard and a higher white balance, the screen is said to be significantly better-looking. Apple has also improved the polarizer in the new display, increasing clarity when viewing the iPhone’s screen while wearing sunglasses.

The traditional method of increasing a display’s resolution and quality is to increase pixel density, which has led to 2K displays in smartphones. But Apple decided that’s not the best way and developed an alternate – and supposedly better – method of increasing quality, which utilizes photo alignment. This process uses ultraviolet light to align the liquid crystals in the display to their proper positions, providing a superior viewing experience, stemming from deeper blacks and sharper text – all without having to increase pixel density.


iPhone 6 inside view retina hd display

Apple’s Retina HD display has gotten significantly thinner, meaning that more than ever will the glass lie flush with the display, giving the impression that nothing is between your finger and the content. Similar to a sticker lying on the face of a display model device, the Retina HD display is said to look almost fake – too good to be true – until you touch it and are able to interact with what appears to be floating on the surface of the device.


iPhone 6 Plus calendars landscape

With a larger display comes a larger canvas, on which more content can be viewed and more work can be done. Both the 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays have their advantages, with the smaller being more suitable for one-handed use, and with the larger making more sense for completing serious tasks.

The larger displays also help to ease viewing for users with visual impairments, as Display Zoom, an option for increasing content size across the device, will undoubtedly be a feature of choice for customers with difficulty viewing smaller text and icons.


 iPhone 6 Plus Home landscape

Not only will the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus displays be considerably bigger, but Apple has worked to make them noticeably better at displaying content. Viewing and editing photos, watching videos, browsing the web, and playing games are all common tasks that are going to be even more enjoyable and immersive when performed using these beautiful displays.

Apple has also placed a focus on accomplishing work on both devices with its pre-installation of iWork and iLife on the 64GB and 128GB models. With the iPhone 6 Plus, the ability of apps to display two simultaneous panes while in landscape mode, similarly to an iPad, and the addition of a 128GB storage tier both point to Apple’s belief that the iPhone can be used for content creation, not only consumption, making the decision to introduce larger displays logical for the interests of both casual and power users alike.

Related post: iPhone 6 design: seamlessly thinner, elegantly bigger

  • John Wickham

    I’m excited to see how it looks in sunlight now!

    • JustReboot

      My thoughts exactly / My old work phone (Nokia icon) looked amazing

  • Micky Ganon

    not impressed

    • hkgsulphate

      samsung neither

  • Zunaid Ahmed

    it better be good, cause it is costing a lot.

  • sdhn

    Words mean very little when discussing displays… you really need to see it and appreciate it first hand.

    • Keith

      right on.

  • AndroidDogHeatandSteelersFan

    I heard the iPhone 6+ wards off android users and mosquitos

  • pietje puk

    so 2012…;)

    • Jack Wong

      PC VS Mac?

  • Gate

    How is Apple going to scale the UI on the 1080p 5.5″ screen?
    They used @2x scaling on the iPhone 5/c/s. @3x scaling would mean a resolution of 1242×2208. Are they going to downsample 3x scaling to 1080×1920?

    Anyway, thanks for the post Timothy!

    • Adam

      I’m pretty sure they are using the same iPad infrastructure on the iPhone 6 Plus.. We will see though.

    • Brandon Weidema

      hopefully this helps you understand.


      • Gate

        Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. :]

    • Lagax

      @3x would be 1704 x 960. How the hell do you get to these numbers for @3x?!

    • benny001

      It just works. Lol

  • Markus Hudobnik

    Still wish the iPhone 6 came with a 1080 p screen :/

    • Dany Quirion

      a 5k display would be good

      • Markus Hudobnik

        Why? That’s pointless in my opinion… 1080p is really all you need for devices this small.

      • Juschan

        its what i need for a 40 inch tv screen but in a smartphone 300 ppi is enough:D

      • objdadon

        Until apple puts it on a phone then it will be the greatest thing ever.

      • Kurt

        There’s a noticeable difference between 326ppi in the iphone and 441ppi in 5 inch phones that have 1080p. There’s quite a difference in sharpness. 300ppi is too low. You’ll see and you will love the higher ppi on the iPhone Plus. It’s gonna be great.

      • objdadon

        Here we go with that statement again! “1080p is all you need”, we don’t “need” a lot of things in life but in the world of technology if advances are being made, why not have them on our devices? Nothing is “pointless” about new technology! It was said we didn’t need 1080p on a phone but now apple has put a 1080p screen on the 6 plus! So…..yeah

      • Sean Cua

        Lol get an LG G3 and see whether you’ll notice the difference of the display.

      • objdadon

        Lol! It’s funny you say that because I have seen the lg g3 in person and it’s absolutely beautiful! A huge difference! But until apple does it, you seem too biased to admit it. I’m coming from the note 2 to get the 6 plus for certain apps that I use on my ipad and macbook that I can now take on the go. The big screen is a huge step for Apple and 1080p is a step up from my note 2 but next year 6 plus better get at least 2k, I’m sure Samsung will be 4k by then.

      • Sean Cua

        lol 4k tvs and monitors aren’t even widely used yet and you believe 4k will be normal for phones in a few years from now. Nah, not a fanboy or anything, but I believe 4k is stupid for phones. 700-800 ppi is unnoticeable for 5.5 inch screens. It’s just plain stupid.

      • objdadon

        Stupid or not is your opinion. It’s technology and stupid or not, Samsung will have it on the next note. Like I said, they said we didn’t need a 1080p screen on phones and now apple has one. To say higher pixels is unnoticeable for 5.5 screens is laughable! I suggest you get your eyes checked! They said we wouldn’t notice 1080p on 5.5 and we do!

    • Leon

      Me2 sir me2

  • Joseph Silva

    Post on shipping confirmations in the us ? Who’s got them already ?

  • n0ahcruz3

    The S3 which is 4.8″ 301ppi looks ok picture-wise. And the 6 has 4.7″ 326ppi. Anyway, Apple said to be ashamed of the protruding camera. 😉

  • Rupinder S

    Really wish I was getting one. But I declined my parents offer because they spoil me too much /:

  • Tom

    Iphone 6 bad ass phone androids are cheaply made junk

    • Guest

      With out thin it is. let hope it doesn’t bend as easily as the iphone 5 hahahahaha

      youtube bent iphone

  • maxeman

    really think 4k-5k is the standard now and should have been the minimum resolution for this phone. Any less is too low res.

    And don’t say that for a screen this size 1080 is enough. If you want to live in the past keep buying the iphone then.

    4k at a minimum!

    Plus, the thickness on the whole phone is ridiculous. It should be at a max of only 3mm thick. This 7mm shit is so 2000 and late.

    Plus where is the flexible display? It’s 2014 for Pete’s sake. We should be able to fold our phones to decrease for fitting in pockets.

    Also I’m being sarcastic.

    • Kurt


  • stulaw01

    Yet another article that “I haven’t seen it but OMGZ itz an Apple product and I can parrot what Apple sayz- SPLOOGE!!” Sad that people cannot wait to actually use something before alleging how good (or bad) something is.

    And both size devices should have been 1080p screens. There is no logical argument otherwise. You “think” you need only 720p because Apple says so and you’ve bought into the Retina rhetoric and whatever Apple offers is the greatest thing since sliced bread and we don’t need or deserve more than that. There is absolutely no technological barrier to having a 4.7″ 1080p LCD display; they’ve been around for years. 4.7″ and 720p is 2012 tech. 720p might have been perfectly ok on a 3.5-4″ screen, but it will show on a much bigger 4.7″ display and not look as crisp and clear and 1080p devices (6 Plus and others).

    Can’t even argue battery life argument that lower resolution saves battery life. Plenty of Android manufacturers have figured out how to get a 2500-3000mah battery into the same dimension (1mm thicker maybe which Apple did not NEED to shave and protrude the camera) device as the 4.7″ iphone 6 WITH a bigger display of 5-5.2″.

    • Kurt

      Thiness is a numbers game. But users should care about numbers dealing with battery life and ppi for example. 326ppi is not as sharp as higher ppi screens. Apple fanboys had argued to the death that you can’t see the difference because Apple said so. It’s such a noticeable difference. Thankfully Apple increased the ppi so fanboys can’t say there is no difference. Finallyyyyyyy they will admit it was all BS.

      • stulaw01

        Exactly. 6.9, 7.1, 8mm they’re all thin devices once you get to a bigger device. Bigger in height and width makes the thinness less noticable. A galaxy S5 is 8.1mm thick and feels plenty thin in the hand being a bigger device.

        Unfortunately, Apple sacrificed the thinness numbers game for battery life (as the ugly protruding camera which was just a very non-Apple like design decision).

        There is a big difference between the iphone 5 display (the 6 is basically the same resolution) and a 1080p or 1440p device screen. Apple fanboys can’t admit it because they are brainwashed by this retina claim (that wasn’t even accurate to begin with back in the day)

      • Kurt

        When you’re right, you’re right. I wonder how popular the iPhone 6 will be as its a mid-tier phone. But for years now Apple fanboys bashed phablets. But once Apple gives something they love it. So will they continue to love the small screen even though it’s a mid-tier phone or will they go for the higher end iPhone 6 Plus that’s a phablet? That is the question I had for months. And I mainly see fanboys so eager for the phablet. I for one would never go back down in size. Phablets are awesome

      • N&LH

        “But for years now Apple fanboys bashed phablets.”…Samething Samsung fanboys keep bashing Apple. And without Apple they would not have Galaxy or Note line up

      • Kurt

        I agree

  • intelxtreme

    Apple does suck with pixels lg g3 blow any phone in dust with that bad ass screen u gotta see it